Topic: Brazil

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Alberto Santos-Dumont

Biography Aviation France Biography/science and academia Brazil Aviation/aerospace biography project Brazil/Education and Science in Brazil

Alberto Santos-Dumont (Brazilian Portuguese: [awˈbɛɾtu ˈsɐ̃tus duˈmõ]; 20 July 1873 – 23 July 1932) was a Brazilian inventor and aviation pioneer, one of the very few people to have contributed significantly to the development of both lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air aircraft.

The heir of a wealthy family of coffee producers, Santos-Dumont dedicated himself to aeronautical study and experimentation in Paris, where he spent most of his adult life. In his early career he designed, built, and flew hot air balloons and early dirigibles, culminating in his winning the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize on 19 October 1901 for a flight that rounded the Eiffel Tower. He then turned to heavier-than-air machines, and on 23 October 1906 his 14-bis made the first powered heavier-than-air flight in Europe to be certified by the Aéro-Club de France and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. His conviction that aviation would usher in an era of worldwide peace and prosperity led him to freely publish his designs and forego patenting his various innovations.

Santos-Dumont is a national hero in Brazil, where it is popularly held that he preceded the Wright brothers in demonstrating a practical airplane. Countless roads, plazas, schools, monuments, and airports there are dedicated to him, and his name is inscribed on the Tancredo Neves Pantheon of the Fatherland and Freedom. He was a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters from 1931 until his suicide in 1932.

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Goiânia radiation accident

Occupational Safety and Health Brazil Brazil/History of Brazil Science Policy

The Goiânia accident [ɡojˈjɐniɐ] was a radioactive contamination accident that occurred on September 13, 1987, in Goiânia, in the Brazilian state of Goiás, after a forgotten radiotherapy source was taken from an abandoned hospital site in the city. It was subsequently handled by many people, resulting in four deaths. About 112,000 people were examined for radioactive contamination and 249 of them were found to have been contaminated.

In the cleanup operation, topsoil had to be removed from several sites, and several hundred houses were demolished. All the objects from within those houses, including personal possessions, were seized and incinerated. Time magazine has identified the accident as one of the world's "worst nuclear disasters" and the International Atomic Energy Agency called it "one of the world's worst radiological incidents".

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Gurgel Itaipu

Brazil Brands Automobiles Brazil/Transportation in Brazil

The Gurgel Itaipu E150 is an electric car, produced by the Brazilian automobile manufacturer Gurgel. The Itaipu was presented at the Salão do Automóvel in 1974, with an intended production start in December 1975. Only a few of these cars were produced and is today a collector's item. Top speed was of the first prototypes were of approximately 30 km/h (19 mph) and the latest models reached up to 60 km/h (37 mph). While about twenty pre-series cars were built, it was never commercialized. It was the first electric car built in Latin America, and, its specifications were comparable to similar models of the time (see CitiCar). The car was named after the hydro-electric dam and power plant on the border of Brazil and Paraguay.

The car's design was unique, a very compact trapezoidal two-seater. The car itself weighed a mere 460 kg (1,014 lb), with the remaining 320 kg (705 lb) consisting of batteries. The name "Itaipu" was brought back for a larger commercial vehicle in 1980, called the Itaipu E400. This was based on the Volkswagen-engined Gurgel G800.

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Cashew of Pirangi

Brazil Plants

The Cashew of Pirangi (Cajueiro de Pirangi), also called the world's largest cashew tree (maior cajueiro do mundo), is a cashew tree in Pirangi do Norte, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. In 1994, the tree entered the Guinness Book of Records. It covers an area between 7,300 square metres (1.8 acres) and 8,400 square metres (2.1 acres). Having the size of 70 normally sized cashew trees, it has a circumference of 500 m (1,600 ft). The vicinity of the World's Largest Cashew Tree in North Pirangi is also a main place for the sale of lace and embroidery in Rio Grande do Norte state.

The spread over a hectare of land was, unlike other trees, created by the tree's outward growth. When bent towards the ground (because of their weight), the branches tend to take new roots where they touch the ground. This may be seen in the images of the interior. It is now difficult to distinguish the initial trunk from the rest of the tree.

The tree is said to have been planted in 1888. However, based on its growth nature, "the tree is estimated to be more than a thousand years old." The tree produces over 60,000 fruits each year.

Flávio Nogueira, Jr., the state secretary of tourism for Piauí, has claimed that the Cashew of Pirangi in Piauí is, in fact, the largest tree, covering an area of 8,800 square metres (2.2 acres). That tree was studied by a laboratory from the State University of Piauí.

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Jesuit Reduction

Brazil Portugal Catholicism Indigenous peoples of the Americas Brazil/History of Brazil Spain South America South America/Paraguay

The Jesuit reductions were a type of settlement for indigenous people specifically in the Rio Grande do Sul area of Brazil, Paraguay and neighbouring Argentina in South America, established by the Jesuit Order early in the 17th century and wound up in the 18th century with the banning of the Jesuit order in several European countries. Subsequently, it has been called an experiment in "socialist theocracy" or a rare example of "benign colonialism".

In their newly acquired South American dominions, the Spanish and Portuguese Empires had adopted a strategy of gathering native populations into communities called "Indian reductions" (Spanish: reducciones de indios) and Portuguese: redução (plural reduções). The objectives of the reductions were to impart Christianity and European culture. Secular as well as religious authorities created "reductions".

The Jesuit reductions were Christian missions that extended successfully in an area straddling the borders of present-day Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina (the triple frontera) amongst the Guaraní peoples. The reductions are often called collectively the Río de la Plata missions. The Jesuits attempted to create a "state within a state" in which the native peoples in the reductions, guided by the Jesuits, would remain autonomous and isolated from Spanish colonists and Spanish rule. A major factor attracting the natives to the reductions was the protection they afforded from enslavement and the forced labour of encomiendas.

Under the leadership of both the Jesuits and native caciques, the reductions achieved a high degree of autonomy within the Spanish colonial empire. With the use of native labour, the reductions became economically successful. When the incursions of Brazilian Bandeirante slave-traders threatened the existence of the reductions, Indian militias were set up, which fought effectively against the Portuguese colonists. However, directly as a result of the Suppression of the Society of Jesus in several European countries, including Spain, in 1767, the Jesuits were expelled from the Guaraní missions (and the Americas) by order of the Spanish king, Charles III. So ended the era of the Paraguayan reductions. The reasons for the expulsion related more to politics in Europe than the activities of the Jesuit missions themselves.

The Jesuit Rio de la Plata reductions reached a maximum population of 141,182 in 1732 in 30 missions in Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. The reductions of the Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos in eastern Bolivia reached a maximum population of 25,000 in 1766. Jesuit reductions in the Llanos de Moxos, also in Bolivia, reached a population of about 30,000 in 1720. In Chiquitos, the first reduction was founded in 1691 and in the Llanos de Moxos in 1682.

The Jesuit reductions have been lavishly praised as a "socialist utopia" and a "Christian communistic republic" as well as criticized for their "rigid, severe and meticulous regimentation" of the lives of the Indian people they ruled with a firm hand through Guaraní intermediaries.

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Man of the Hole

Biography Anthropology Brazil Indigenous peoples of the Americas

The Man of the Hole (also known as "Indian of the Hole", Portuguese: índio do buraco) is a man indigenous to Brazil who lives alone in the Amazon rainforest. He is believed to be the last surviving member of his tribe. It is unknown what language he speaks or what his tribe was called. The term "Man of the Hole" is a nickname used by officials and the media; his real name is unknown.

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